Monday, April 29, 2013

i'm only happy when it rains

I've been driving past this bike shop in Buxton quite a lot over the last couple of weeks. A group of bikes, like this, always, without fail, makes me want to draw. You don't actually see it enough in this country. I'm not talking about those freaky serious cycling enthusiasts (there are loads of them), I mean just normal people on normal bikes (I am, of course, joking). It's probably all the hills and because it rains continuously. I think that a gang of bikes is one of those drawing opportunities that, whilst being irresistible, is a real challenge. It's all those wheels.

Monday, April 22, 2013

the evening meet

They come every evening. Around six o'clock. They meet in the school garden for a chin wag. To catch up on the day's gossip. Then they fly off. And it all goes quiet again.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

he was really saying something

few posts back I told you about a recent trip that I'd made and how I'd achieved one of my goals by journalling the whole thing, from start to finish. I'd hoped to share that journal on my blog, however, I hadn't anticipated the sketchbook not actually fitting on my scanner (epic fail). That was because I'd made majority of the drawings as double page spreads. I did make a few on single pages, though, and here are a couple.

The drawing, above, is of my nephew Griff. Throughout the long journey, to EuroDisney, by coach (oh, the joys) I drew Griff over and over again. There's a lot of time to draw from South Wales to Paris. Here's is one thing that I wonder; those of you who draw portraits, do you find that drawing people you know best, your family and friends, is more difficult than drawing strangers? I'm still new to drawing people but I always find this is the case. This drawing of Griff, was the best, but I'm still not sure there's a likeness.

Below is a drawing that Griff and I made together. Actually, a large percentage of the drawings in the journal were joint efforts. I think this one shows what fun journalling can be - for the whole family! We were very lucky that we also had a muse; the chain smoking driver, who we were sat behind. He kept us entertained with his tall tales and his excuses for stopping (just so that he could have a cigarette or five). These included 'stopping for the kiddies to stretch their legs', 'stopping so the kiddies can get some chips' and, the best, 'stopping so we could get some fresh air'.

I absolutely love this drawing. It takes me right back to that time - which is something an illustrated journal can do so much better than a photograph ever can. Plus, it never fails to make me laugh. Thanks for the memory, Griff.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

i heard his whisper in the summer breeze

 Above is a brand new drawing. It's actually the second stage (step?) in another of my projects (no, don't roll your eyes) called Little Acorns. I made the first post, about this project, a couple of weeks back but didn't explain it then. I wanted it to start with a whisper. So perhaps I should explain now...

Do you remember the one red paper clip project from a few years back? It was the brainchild of a Canadian dude (note to self, Google him) and basically he started with a red paper clip and traded up and up until he eventually got himself a house. Well, don't worry, I'm not going for a house - unless anyone has a spare one knocking around, that is. Nope, I just really loved that idea and have always wanted to adapt it, so, I came up with my own idea.
 I began with this little drawing of this little acorn, above, and, I put it on Ebay, at a starting price of a penny. Then my aim was (is) to invest every penny I make into the next 'thing'. I assumed it would make a fiver, a tenner at the most, and I'd buy, maybe, a new pen or something. Now, a new pen probably doesn't sound that exciting but times are tough, and I haven't bought any new pens in at least a year. Which is okay, I have LOADS of pens that I can use (pencil cases full of ballpoints etc) but the pens that I use most, the building blocks of my drawings, the black and brown fine liners, had all run dry. And, I just know, that in this Little Acorn project the brown pen is going to feature strongly - as you can see from the new drawing.
Anyway, to cut a long story short (ish), my first Little Acorn drawing made a surprising £24 (plus p&p of 3.50)! So, I had made £27.50. And, this is how it was spent;

Postage £3.00
Envelope £0.40
Ebay fees £2.76

Leaving me with £21.34 to invest. I asked via my blog, and Twitter, for recommendations of brown water and light resistant pens and bought one of each of those recommendations.

Pens £21.28.

I cannot even tell you have good it felt to have that money to spend on gorgeous brown pens (and a couple of other bits). I now have all the pens I need for wherever this project will take me. I will do a brown pen review to tell you what exactly I bought and which I'd recommend in the near future.
But, in the meantime, the drawing at the top of this page, my new acorn drawing, is currently for sale HERE. I hope you'll join me on this journey. Where will it go? Now, that excites me.

Oh, and the Canadian dude is Kyle MacDonald.
Oh, oh, and obviously I used the pens to make this drawing. That was obvious right?!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

feels like it's raining all over the world

 Made this drawing yesterday as I waited for a friend to turn up. We are both taking part in the Derbyshire Open Arts exhibition that is happening on the bank holiday weekend, at the end of May. It's where artists throughout the county open their homes and studios to the public. I did it last year and it was a brilliant experience, so it's nice to be doing it again. This year we will be exhibiting at the lovely Pear Tree cafe, in Whaley Bridge, where, yesterday, we met up to discuss it. Amazingly, for once, the first time ever, I wasn't the one who was late.
 If you're in Derbyshire (a long shot?) at the end of May please come along to Pear Tree for a coffee, cake and a rifle through my sketchbooks. Details HERE.

Friday, April 12, 2013

well, we slept underneath all the stars and we talked about girls seen from afar

You might have seen both of these before in photos, on my blog, but I'm very happy with them and so I thought I'd post the scans. They are both from February's Dr Sketchy's circus evening in Sheffield. I still feel I'm a beginner when it comes to life drawing so when it goes well I feel particularly chuffed with myself. We have another event happening next week, so if you are in the area and would like to come along details can be found HERE. It's great fun.

PEN QUESTION: Right, folks, it's that time when I ask you for some help again. I'm looking for brown pens - just like the colours I've used in these drawings. Brown fine liners. Preferably with a variety of nib sizes. They need to be water and light resistant. And I need to buy them soon. Very soon! I would appreciate any recommendations. Thanks in advance, penpals.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

try an' find myself again

Last night I found myself wasting too much time on Twitter, for no apparent reason - well, apart from the fact that I just cannot go to bed. I was jumping from one profile to the next, as you do. It wasn't one of those totally aimless bits of time wasting (although, late at night, I can be found doing that too), I was looking at graphic novel bok publishers and the like.

On my late night Twitter stroll, the profile Scriveners Books was thrown up, so to speak. In a strange twist of fate - well, not really, we all know there's nothing coincidental about social networking - it turns out that Scriveners is not a small publishing house but a second hand book shop in my local town.

I recognised the photo. I've driven past it a thousand times or more, but in over a decade of living here, I've never been inside. I've never even stopped or taken any interest. That's rubbish isn't it? So today, I was in Buxton and put it top of my things to do list.

And, am I glad that I did? Wow. It's amazing. I can't believe this gem has been under my nose for so long and I didn't even know. Four storeys full of books. Gorgeous, gorgeous, old books. Old armchairs dotted around the place so you can sit and immerse yourself in their pages. Or, where you can sit and sketch.

I'll be back. And, if you live in or around Buxton, and have never paid it a visit, you should go too.

Friday, April 05, 2013

get your tentacles out for the girls

A new direction for me; poster/flyer/event promo artist. Yep, it's nearly time for another Dr Sketchy Sheffield event. Just, er, um 18 days (? My Maths ain't great)) until we go to sea. So, get your tentacles and pens out and come and join us!

More info on Dr Sketchy Sheffield on our Facebook, Twitter and website.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

there's a cat in the kitchen

I spent Easter Sunday drawing my kitchen shelves. But then didn't we all? Didn't we? Oh. OH, right.

I'm really happy with this drawing. Really very happy. There's a couple of reasons for that. Firstly, because this page in my sketchbook had been annoying, frustrating, depressing me for probably six months. I'd committed to drawing the shelves by putting an outline of them, and their contents, down on the page in back ink. You probably can't even see it now but it is there. And, that's as far as I got. But it was a horrible drawing; bland and contrived. I didn't know where to go with it.

So, I'd just let it sit on the back burner ever since. Sometimes that's all you can do with a drawing. There are times, actually, when this approach, of just leaving a drawing brew and going back to it some time later, has produced some of my favourite sketchbook spreads. That's what happened here.

Sunday I decided to tackle the shelves. I used blind contour technique to put the details in with coloured fine liners. Then I added some colour pencil  for the background and chilli lights. Then I put in some shadows with a green brush pen. Then I put in some other thicker lines with other pens (which it really didn't need, but then I never know when to stop). Finally, and for no apparent reason, I blind contoured the cat and added the phrase 'le chat est dans la cuisine'.

So, there we go. The story of a drawing.

Oh, and the other reason I really like it is, well, just 'cos I find it aesthetically pleasing. That's okay, isn't it?